Maker Culture – DIWO


Week 5: February 15 – 21

We will continue our study of maker culture with a deeper look at DIWO (Do it With Others) as practiced by Marc Garrett and Ruth Catlow from the Furtherfield Gallery in London. Marc Garrett will be our guest speaker who will provide an overview of DIWO, it’s concepts, practices, and ways in which it has been used to bring about social change through art and technology. How has the DIY or DIWO (do it with others) culture taken shape as a result of collaborative forms and social participation in the experience of the collective artwork? We will have an opportunity to discuss these issues in live conversation with Marc Garrett via Adobe Connect.


Due next week: February 22


Marc Garrett’s Lecture


Research Critique Summary – Furtherfield – Maker Culture – DIWO

Write a 400 word essay discussing the concept of DIWO (Do it With Others), as explored in the essay, the Furtherfield Website, and Marc Garrett’s lecture. Describe how DIWO relates to the concepts we have done this semester in class, such as Open Source Thinking, the Third Space, and the Collective Narrative. You can also refer to the micro-projects we have done as as Social Broadcasting, Tele-Stroll, the Collective Body, the Telematic Embrace, . How does DIWO describe the course so far., by summarizing what we have been doing this semester, and feel free to choose examples, screenshots, and other media from our topics, lectures, readings and projects. Feel free to use material you have already written from your research critiques.

The goal of the research critique summary is to synthesize your thoughts and observations on the art of the social practice as expressed in the essay by Ruth Catlow and Marc Garrett, as well as the lecture by Marc Garrett. Be sure to also visit the Furtherfield Website and read about Furtherfield and its history. The main concept for your essays is: Maker Culture – DIWO.

Here are instructions for the research critique:

  • Create a new post on your blog incorporating relevant hyperlinks, images, video, etc
  • Be sure to reference and quote from the reading to provide context for your critique
  • Apply the “Research” category
  • Apply appropriate tags
  • Add a featured image
  • Post a comment on at least one other research post prior to the following class
  • Be sure your post is formatted correctly, is readable, and that all media and quotes are DISCUSSED in the essay, not just used as introductory material

Due in two weeks: March 1


Interview with Chip Lord

Chip Lord live from the NMC Media Lounge at the College Art Association conference, Please view the recording following the event when I post it on Saturday, February 24.

Research Critique

Each student will be assigned a work to research and critique by the Media Collective Ant Farm from the following list:

Write a 300 word essay about your assigned work, the artist(s). Incorporate the reading (see above), as well as the interview with Chip Lord, as relevant, into your research post, using at least one quote from the reading to support your own research and analysis.

The goal of the research critique is to conduct independent research by reviewing the online documentation of the work, visiting the artist’s Website, and googling any other relevant information about the artist and their work. You will give a presentation of your research in class.


Here are instructions for the research critique:

  • Create a new post on your blog incorporating relevant hyperlinks, images, video, etc
  • Be sure to reference and quote from the reading to provide context for your critique
  • Apply the “Research” category
  • Apply appropriate tags
  • Add a featured image
  • Post a comment on at least one other research post prior to the following class
  • Be sure your post is formatted correctly, is readable, and that all media and quotes are DISCUSSED in the essay, not just used as introductory material.


Introduction to DIY / DIWO Maker Culture: A study of Furtherfield, London

Furtherfield is a gallery in London that has pioneered art of the social practice and activism since the 1990s. We will review their philosophy and work as essential to the emergence of Maker Culture, a form of collaborative thinking that has become prevalent in the art and design world today.

Marc Garrett, Guest Speaker

Marc Garrett and Ruth Catlow, co-directors, Furtherfield, UK


Based in London, UK, Furtherfield, co-directed by Marc Garrett and Ruth Catlow, is an alternative arts organization and website for exhibition, discussion and critical review with two physical spaces in the heart of Finsbury Park. The Furtherfield Gallery hosts exhibitions and pop-up up events and Furtherfield Commons is a technology and community space for discussions, workshops and informal residencies. Furtherfield believes that through creative and critical engagement with practices in art and technology people are inspired and enabled to become active co-creators of their cultures and societies. Art and technologies play a central role in the way we see and form our societies, and so it is important that programming and productions involve more diverse people at a fundamental level.


Ruth Catlow and Marc Garrett “Do it With Others (DIWO): Participatory Media in the Furtherfield Neighborhood,” 2007

Garrett, Marc (2006) “DIWO (Do it With Others) Artistic Co-Creation as a Decentralized Method of Peer Empowerment in Today’s Multitude

Part I

The process is as important as the outcome, forming relationally aware peer enactments. It is a living art, exploiting contemporary forms of digital and physical networks as a mode of open praxis, as in the Greek word for doing, and as in, doing it with others.

This statement suggests that how we get there is as important as the final goal, the end product. In this class we are concerned with process, of doing, making, creating, interacting. In the interactive artwork, the the process is more fluid than say a finished object.

But, what if these artists prefer by choice to be part of an art world less based on hegemony; and are more interested in being closely connected with their grass root art cultures, and are less interested in art celebrity culture? What if the art itself consists in its make-up similar values to those musicians in the Indie Music scene? What if this art is asking important questions that deserve a dialogue which goes deeper than marketable products, and proposed celebrity genius?

And furthermore, the process is making is a shift away from the project as a marketable item. Process is more intangible, less finite, and more difficult to assign a value, other than the creative inspiration that arises from the act of doing.

Yet, when using a simple word such as ‘New’, it proposes as part of its meaning that it’s all about the ‘New’, as in, use of ‘New technology’ as an outright goal or a means to an end. This is a misleading term, and does not accurately reflect a field of practice incorporating crossovers and transdisciplinary understandings, uniting our engagement and experimentation with technology at a ‘variety of levels’, which also include ecological tendencies as well as social interpretations.

The statement refers to the new, or the fetish of the new as related to new products, rather the newness that results of experimentation, which is at the foundation of this course. How can we discuss new ideas, new concepts, new processes, through our experimentation with openness and interaction with one another and with the viewer.

Under capitalism control of technology is no longer in the hands of craftsmen but is transferred to the owners of enterprise and their agents.

This brings back to open source thinking in the sense that when we use “closed” products we lose control of what they do, rather than building tools and systems of our own. This openness means we have access to the source of our tools, just as making food from scratch gives us control over its ingredients and methods of preparation.

Peer critique and shared ownership of ideas have enabled small groups and communities to learn and initiate projects together.

Share ownership is the essence of open source thinking, allowing us to critique each other as peers, or groups, or communities so that we can learn and create together. Do it with others.

A willingness to transform our ideas and intentions not solely based on ‘proprietorial’ dependencies, and a fetish for the ‘New’, allows space for ‘different versions of the new’ and ‘old’ dialogues to evolve.

Proprietorial dependency is the opposite of open source thinking, it means that we are dependent on what is handed to us, something new, as opposed to what is created ourselves. This in turn allows for dialogue, interaction in a share process of making and learning. This class is a dialogue and a space for creation and making, not following pre-existing methods or structures, but rather inventing our own.

Control over one’s tools of creative production is now, as significant as having control over one’s creative ideas. And, media art as an art practice, has gained various attributes which allow processes of self-autonomy.

Having this control of our tools and the methods of creation gives us autonomy and self-reliance, freedom of established ways of doing things. Even when we are using proprietary tools, such as Facebook Live, we are using these tools in unorthodox ways that give us freedom from the proprietary methods that Facebook imposes on the timeline.

Part II

(or Diwo’s, or Diwo groups) Expanded from the original term known as D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself). D.I.W.O ‘Do It With Others’. Is more representative of contemporary, collaborative – art practice which explores through the creative process of using networks, in a collective manner.” (Garrett ibid)

How does DIWO differ from DIY? With DIY you do it yourself, with DIWO you do it with others, meaning there is an enhancement of collaboration, which is what we refer to as the social practice. We are used to making things ourselves, but this class explores how we can make things with others, an entirely different creative process.

DIWO (Do It With Others) is inspired by DIY culture and cultural (or social) hacking… Peers connect, communicate and collaborate, creating controversies, structures and a shared grass roots culture, through both digital online networks and physical environments. Influenced by Mail Art projects of the 60s, 70s and 80s demonstrated by Fluxus artists’ with a common disregard for the distinctions of ‘high’ and ‘low’ art.

Mail art by György Galántai, 1981

Why would mail art constitute a peer to peer form? Because in a sense it is an early form of networked communications art, in which artworks can sent from one person to another via the physical network of the postal system. And like the Internet, it is global.

“The purpose of mail art, an activity shared by many artists throughout the world, is to establish an aesthetical communication between artists and common people in every corner of the globe, to divulge their work outside the structures of the art market and outside the traditional venues and institutions: a free communication in which words and signs, texts and colours act like instruments for a direct and immediate interaction.“

Mail art also allowed artworks to be distributed and experienced outside established art venues, which constitutes another social act, as well as open source, in the sense that you are not relying on a controlled environment to distribute your work, but rather allow the art to circulate the postal routes without a curatorial gatekeeper.

“[…] art has become too narcissistic and self-referential and divorced from social life. I see a new form of participatory art emerging, in which artists engage with communities and their concerns, and explore issues with their added aesthetic concerns“

In this sense the we are concerned with ways in which the artist takes control and makes work that becomes embedded in the social life, perhaps as mail art, or street art, or Internet art.

“Online creation communities could be seen as a sign of reinforcement of the role of civil society and make the space of the public debate more participative. In this regard, the Internet has been seen as a medium capable of fostering new public spheres since it disseminates alternative information and creates alternative (semi) public spaces for discussion.“ [40] (Morell 2009)

The Internet now enables this kind of participation as an alternative public space for the creation and dissemination of art and design. It is a sphere where we can openly share and communication information. The Art of the Networked Practice Online Symposium is an example of this shift from the physical to the online realm of staging social spaces for live performance and critical discourse.

The foundations of the Do It With Others art context, that privileges FLOSS (free/libre/open source software) skills sharing and commons-based peer produced artworks and media over the monitored and centrally owned and controlled interfaces of corporate owned social media. This is the spirit of DIWO, if it’s centralized and controlled by a corporate entity, it ain’t DIWO.

DIWO is an act of freedom and liberation from centrally controlled structures, where we work together in peer situations to form what we might call “autonomous communities.”

Furtherfield Projects

Furtherfield is actively organizing projects that delve into contemporary issues that confront our digital world and the economic forces that impact society. Here is a list of recent workshops they have conducted that demonstrate how maker culture is used to initiate peer-to-peer cultural production.